Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Two Favorites, One Bowl

One of the things I love to experiment most with in the kitchen is combining two favorites into one new, delicious dish. What do I mean? Well, for tasty examples, check out my Taco Spaghetti, Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta, Pizza Gnocchi Bake and Philly Sloppy Joes!

Whenever I make one of these new creations, I am always reminded of an old episode of Full House. Michelle was trying to earn a cooking badge, and she decided the easiest way to do this would be to take two things she liked and combine them into a new dish. Yeah, she was like 6 or 7 at the time, so it didn't go too well. I distinctly remember her family being subjected to "tuna ice cream." She like tuna fish sandwiches. She liked ice cream. It was sure to be a hit! NOT! 
Thankfully, I've never taken it to that extreme, but that image always gives me a giggle. Trust me when I say this combo is way more yummy! 

I know we are far from cookout season, but I know without a doubt this is going to show up on our deck lots this year! To be hones though, sometimes I just need a "warm weather" meal in the middle of winter to remember what those flavors are. This was the perfect side to some hot dogs, and the leftovers were delicious the next day for lunch! 

Finding new ways to enjoy favorites, combining them in new unique ways, is a great way to feel more creative in the kitchen. What are some of your favorite two favorites in one dish recipes?

Coleslaw Pasta Salad
1 lb. ditalini pasta
1 lb. tri-color coleslaw mix
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large cucumber, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. mayo
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper

Boil pasta according to package directions, rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine pasta, coleslaw mix, red pepper and cucumber. Toss to combine. In a medium bowl whisk together mayo, vinegar, sugar, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour over coleslaw mixture. Stir well. Cover and chill 4-6 hours before serving.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Valentine's Day At Home

You and I both know restaurants across America can't keep up with the reservations being made for Cupid's special day, especially with it being on Friday night. I am sure most are booked by now, and there are many men out there who waited too long trying to figure out what they are going to do now!

Mr. E and I have learned many things after being together so many years. One of them being Valentine's Day at home can be just as special as a fancy dinner out. Sure, I love to go out to eat. Someone else cooks. Someone else cleans it up. It's a great treat for me, but it also means finding a sitter for Max, getting dressed in real clothes, doing my hair, my makeup...sometimes I'm just not feeling it.

Plus, ever since we had Alex, and now with Max too, we make the day more of a family time. We have gifts for each other, for the boys, they have them for each other, I make a nice meal, complete with something sweet, and we just hang out.

Since all of my boys love Asian food, this would be a fantastic idea for Valentine's Day. And if you're looking for something special to make your sweet heart, this simple dish would be a great place to start planning that menu!

Thai food can sometimes be really spicy, but this isn't, so don't worry if you're feeding little ones, or wimps like me. However, if you do like it hot, like my husband and oldest, you can serve some hot sauce or chili paste on the side they can add as they like.

Filled with unique flavors, this is spot on for dishes I get when we do go out for Thai food. I love the cool crunchy cucumber on top. They really add a little something extra to a meat and rice supper.

If you're staying home this Valentine's Day, Easy Thai Beef would be a simple, tasty way to enjoy a nice meal with your special someone. Or if you are getting treated to a night out, add this to your meal plan for the week anyway!

Easy Thai Beef
2 lbs. ground beef
2 red bell peppers, diced
1/2 c. + 1 tsp. soy sauce
1 TBS sugar
Juice of 2 limes
5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS Thai basil, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
Pinch of salt 
Pinch of pepper
Cooked White Rice

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown beef until no longer pink. About half way through cooking, add bell pepper and garlic.  In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 c. soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and dried red pepper. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine cucumbers, 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1 TBS basil. Stir well. Set aside. When meat mixture is browned, add soy sauce mixture and 1 TBS basil. Stir well. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 10 minutes until reduced. Serve beef over cooked rice and topped with cucumbers.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Straight Out Of The Pantry

I am a big meal planner. Every week I make a list of suppers I will be making, use that to make my grocery list, and then have a game plan for every night of the week. It's the way I've always done it. But sometimes, even my plan goes astray and I have to think quick on my feet.

A few weeks ago when I went to prep supper, I realized I had forgotten to buy literally 80% of what I needed for the meal I wanted to make. I have absolutely no clue how it happened, but there I was. Just a girl, standing in front of the fridge, pantry and freezer hoping for a meal to appear. Or at least some inspiration. Thank goodness it finally did! I got a new delicious soup supper to share with all of you!

Another chicken and noodle recipe? Don't worry, this one is a little different than anything I've shared before.

Now, let's talk condensed soups for a second. I will admit, I use them often, quite often, in a ton of recipes. They are a great shortcut and I've never been bothered by the stigma they sometimes get. But I know there are many of you who are trying to watch your sodium intake, or for whatever other reasons, don't like to use them. No fear. I am hear to help with that too!

Check out this article I wrote for Parade! In this collection you will find some terrific DIY seasoning blends, dips and dressings (also great if you're watching your ingredients) AND a homemade version of the condensed soups! Easily swap them out in any recipe that calls for the canned variety for a healthier choice.

Back to my new soup though. I started grabbing things I had on hand to make sure my boys had a yummy supper, and in about an hour we did! Seriously, roasting the chicken took more time than anything! And those condensed soups? They give it an extra layer of flavor, and semi-creamy texture.

Be sure to serve them right away as those noodles are going to suck up any broth in the pot. And if you reheat it, add a little water too! However, if you want a "chicken and noodles" meal instead of a soup, per say, simply turn off the heat, leave the pot covered and let the broth be soaked up! Either way, it's delicious!

I have to have my meal plan to function on a daily basis; but I was pretty proud of myself for shooting from the hip on this one and the new, tasty meal I made. Next time though, I will plan for it!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
2 TBS vegetable oil
Garlic Powder
2 (32 oz.) boxes chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 celery ribs, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 TBS butter
1 lb. medium egg noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper 

Preheat oven to 350. Baste chicken with oil. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes until juices run clear. Shred. 

In a large stock pot over medium high heat saute carrots, onion, and celery in butter until soft. Add cooked chicken, broth, water and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender. Reduce heat to simmer.  Stir in both cans of soup and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes to warm through. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Flavor Tip

If you're making a homemade chicken and ___ soup, how do you prepare the chicken? I bet many of you are thinking, "I boil it, then shred it...how else am I supposed to be making it?"

There is nothing wrong with that method. Not one bit. It is the traditional way all of our moms and grandmas used, and it's worked for this many years, so why change it? Let me explain!

I have a ton of chicken soup recipes, and in 99% of them, I choose to roast the chicken instead. Even recipes that call for that old school method have been adapted in my recipe box.

I started doing this years ago, for a few reasons. First off, I find roasting the meat gives it an extra flavor boost that really adds another level to whatever soup it's going into. Secondly, I like to "work ahead" on meals, even if I'm home all day. I can easily roast the chicken earlier in the day, shred it, and stick in the fridge where it's waiting on me when dinner time rolls around. You could even roast it the night before, or on the weekend and freeze it until you're ready for it later in the week. It really frees up some time. And finally, roasting the chicken also lets me double up on recipes. I can prepare extra, use some for today's soup and then freeze some for another soup or casserole later on.

This soup is a perfect example of how cooking the chicken like this will free up some extra time. If the chicken is done ahead of time, you can throw everything (well, almost) in the slow cooker and it's going to take care of itself without you having to come back and deal with the chicken mid-cooking.

The hubby loves the chicken and rice soup they serve at his work, so I was simply trying to treat him to something at home, and boy did I earn some wife points with this one! It's one of those that you can't wait to come home to on a cold day, and tastes great the next day too. (Be sure to add some extra liquid when reheating thought because that rice is going to soak up every last drop!)

Oh, and to anyone reading this who has the sniffles, or that nasty yuck that is going around, EVERY WHERE, this would taste so good!

If you are willing to think outside the box and trust me, switching out some roast chicken for the classic boiled/simmered version might just be the new kitchen hack you've been looking for!

Crock Pot Chicken & Rice Soup
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 (32-oz) boxes chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled & diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 c. white rice
3 cups water
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Baste chicken with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until juices run clear. Let cool. Shred. 
To Crock Pot add chicken, broth, vegetables, water, bouillon, garlic powder, thyme, parsley salt and pepper. Cook on LOW 5 hours. Add rice, increase heat to HIGH and cook 1-1.5 hours until rice is tender. 
*NOTE* Want to save even more time? You could easily use a rotisserie chicken for this. Discard the skin, shred it and you're good to go! 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Winter Has Arrived

If you read that title and are saying "Um, Krista, it has been here for a while now, officially since last month!" You are absolutely correct. But see, here in Indiana we have been spoiled for most of the winter thus far. It's been pretty mild. It was over 60 on Christmas day! We've had unseasonably warm temps, rain instead of snow, and even a few thunderstorms!

However, Old Man Winter found us this weekend, and with a vengeance! Friday night it snowed, then turned to ice, then it got warm for a few hours, rained, and then....the brutal wind and bitter temps showed up. Seriously. I got up this morning and there was ice on the inside of our living room windows!

When it is cold like this, you know the kind...it takes your breath away the minute you step outside, and makes your face hurt, about the only comforting thing we can rely on is a piping hot bowl of soup, stew, or chowder!

In our house, if it's got a creamy base, and bigger chunks of meat and veg, that's chowder. It's not a true science, but it makes sense to us! I actually made this with leftover holiday ham in mind. I know there are some out there with some ham hanging out in the freezer. How do I know this? Because any time I've made a big ham, we were sure to have extra so I could freeze it for later use in soups and chowders!

This is s full meal deal with your meat, veg and potatoes all in one bowl. It is sure to fill you up and thaw you out after a long day in the cold. A warm, delicious hug to cure all that ails you!

Winter is here to stay, no matter how many mild days we are spoiled with. While we all wait for spring, at least we can have some yummy meals to ease the pain!

Crock Pot Potato & Ham Chowder
8-10 medium russet potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 lb. ham, cubed
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 TBS dried parsley
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. flour
Salt and Pepper

Combine everything except cream and flour in Crock Pot. Stir well. Cook on high 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, slightly mash the potatoes. In a bowl whisk together cream and flour. Add to soup. Cook another 15-20 minutes until slightly thicken. Reduce to warm until serving. *NOTE* Check your potatoes. If they are tender before cooking time is up, finish cooking on low. When you mash the potatoes, you still want lots of big chunks left behind, so don't over mash.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday